Sophia Wise speaks about her family background. As a child her mother sang Tumbalalaika, which she didn't realize was Yiddish until she took the January term Yiddish course at the Book Center. She speaks about her great-grandfather's Yiddish letters, which she hopes to be able to read. Sophia then goes into detail about growing up as a Jew in Orlando, Florida and her family's involvement in the Jewish community. Sophia's Aunt Tess Wise established the Holocaust Center in Orlando and was one of the pillars of the Jewish community in Orlando.
The conversation then turns to Sophia's Jewish identity, particularly as she began her studies at Smith College and moved away from home. She later speaks about her passion for Yiddish, the concept of Yiddishland, and how much there is left to be done in the field of Yiddish.
Sophia discusses her time at the Yiddish Book Center, its significance, and her experiences studying Yiddish in the January Term program. She particularly lights up while describing the many positive reactions she has encountered when people learn she is studying Yiddish. At the end of the interview, Sophia reflects on her experiences with Yiddish, its significance, and her advice to future students.
To cite this interview: Sophia Wise Oral History Interview, interviewed by Hillary Ossip, Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project, Karmazin Recording Studio, Yiddish Book Center, January 21, 2011. http://archive.org/details/SophiaWise21january2011YiddishBookCenter ( [date accessed] )